Goodbye to 2020

Today is the last day of 2020, a year that was unexpected and tough for so many. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted almost every person in the world this year, and I’m no exception. There have been times that I have felt I could take things in my stride and others when I felt stressed, anxious and alone. But I always like to think that even in the worst of things, there’s always a silver lining and I think I tried to convey some of these in my photos this year, whether it was making the most of places being quieter and tourist free or just being grateful for the fact that we had long hot summer which is unusual for the UK. I was also happy to have ticked a few places off my bucket list which I didn’t expect like visiting Chatsworth House, the Lake District, and the confetti flower fields. My favourite photos of the year are shared below.

With several vaccines now available, I hope and pray that 2021 will be a better one for all of us, that with a little more patience and caution we will get through this once in a lifetime difficult, but shared experience and come out stronger together. I hope that all of our loved ones are safe and that we can enjoy each others’ company once again soon, very soon. Take care everyone and I wish you all a happy, healthy amazing year ahead.

Lake District

On our drive back to London from Scotland we decided to make a stop at the Lake District. I’ve wanted to go to the Lakes for years so I was really looking forward to it. We were lucky with the weather too, as it was bright, sunny and a complete contrast to the day before at Loch Lomond.

We drove to one part of the area called Ullswater and got out to have a look around. Here there was a pier and a gift shop alongside a brilliant blue lake. Walking around the lake the scenery was just beautiful with vibrant blues and greens everywhere you looked.

Having walked for a while the kids were getting tired and the older ones getting bored (teenagers eh!) so we headed back to the car. We next drove to another part of the Lakes and this time leaving the grumpy teenagers behind with their gadgets we went for another walk.
We came across a couple of families that were getting their boats into the water at a part of the lake that was low enough to do so. We watched for a while intrigued to see that people did this.

After some time we continued down a road and then some smaller paths. It was quieter and less busy, and anyone we did pass said hello which we thought was very friendly. There were also people swimming in this part of the lake as it was less deep. My niece found some blackberries which I helped her pick and we also came across some strange rock formations. No idea what these were for.

We eventually went back to the car to check up on the teenagers and then we drove to our final spot in the Lakes. We drove uphill to a small church that was tucked away in the hills. From there we were able to hike up to the top of steep hillsides.

The climb was easy because the earth and grass were soft and it wasn’t slippery but it was difficult because of just how steep it was. After walking uphill for about 10 minutes I found myself breathing harder than I expected! It was well worth it though. As we climbed higher and higher the view became more and more breathtaking.

When we finally reached as far as we could due to time restraints we stopped and just took in the view. The landscape was stunning, and the sun bursting through the clouds casting light spots and shadows across the hills was just wonderful. It really was soul food to just look around and see how beautiful this world can be.

We soaked in the view for a while and then carefully and steadily made our way back to the church where the car was, passing lots of friendly smiley people along the way. We were a bit disappointed to not have been able to make it to the top so my brother in law took a short cut and drove up to a high point. From here you could see the hills, the lake glittering in the sun and the tiny sailboats on the water. It was an amazing view.

We finally started making the long journey back home, hoping to beat traffic and arrive early evening. It was a great summer break, visiting the Peak District, Scotland and the Lake District. I’m so pleased to be able to tick off a few places off my bucket list and it was a nice reprieve from the city and the tough year that 2020 has unexpectedly been.

Beautiful Peonies

I decided to treat myself to some peonies having seen some in the shops. Peonies are one of my favourites flowers, so I couldn’t resist. I waited a few days for the flowers to open up and for the the lush, full bodied petals to unfold. What always surprises me about this flower is that the buds are so tight and small but there’s so many petals all folded within it.

The dramatic look and volume of the petals look amazing and the smell of the pink peonies was sweet and really fragrant. I thought the pink tinge on the petals tips of the white peonies, looked lovely, adding just a touch of colour.

I love the texture of the petals too. and how the pollen inside the flower is tucked away like a secret.

Sadly peonies don’t last very long but they brightened up my day whenever I caught sight of them or picked up the scent. Sometimes you really do just need to stop and smell the roses, as life would be a lot less beautiful without them.

Eid gifts

Eid this year was a quiet one, but that didn’t mean I had to miss out on presents. My family and friends can be very generous at times and this Eid they were. And it meant so much more this year as we all spent the day apart due to the pandemic that is currently coursing across the world.

As mentioned in my last post my younger sister made and delivered delicious chocolate cakes to each of us to enjoy. She also dropped off some sweets in a fun ice lolly shaped box. My youngest sister ordered expensive chocolates for me which is a real treat.

My friend dropped off some lovely candle holders decorated in various peacock designs. My sisters all loved them and I’m sure they will be borrowed soon.

I love having flowers in the house on Eid so I bought some for my mum, and my sister had some delivered too. My oldest sister came by and gave me a bag full of treats. The rose candle smells great and I can’t wait to taste some of these luxury treats too. As you can probably tell, my family have sweet teeth!

I have to admit I felt a little sad on Eid not being able to spend the day with my family, even more so for my parents as I know they are missing their grandkids a lot. My family being generous reminded me that although we weren’t able to spend the day together they still want to celebrate and that we are all thinking of each other. Hopefully by next Eid the world will feel safer for us and we can spend time with family and friends joyfully. I also hope that it will make us appreciate the time we have together even more.

A Walk in the Park

The lockdown has been in force in the UK for 6 weeks or more now, and apart from going out to get food I haven’t really had a chance to go out for a walk (like most people), something I used to do every day before the pandemic made the world stop. The weather was lovely recently so I took the opportunity to go to the park and try and clear some cobwebs from my mind and to stretch my legs.

Walking in and seeing so much green made me want take a deep breath and soak in the fresh air.

Keeping my distance while walking around I found some lovely, vibrant pops of colour in the shape of some flowers big and small.

The walk did me a world of good and I’m grateful to have a lovely park that I can visit if I need to. I don’t plan on leaving it so long next time. I hope you’re all well, keeping safe and making the most of the situation whereever you are.

Slices of Time

I recently visited the Now Gallery in North Greenwich to see the Slices of Time exhibition by Emmanuelle Moureaux. I saw this was going to be on months ago and was really looking forward to seeing what would be displayed. I can honestly say, I wasn’t disappointed. The display was made up of thousands of numbers, arranged in colour order creating an amazingly complex, colourful display.

The thousands of individual numbers were all held up by thousands of strings.

The whole piece was really surreal, especially when you looked up close and the numbers and colours overlapped with each other.

I really loved this piece as you could see how complicated it was by all the individual numbers and how it was kept in an orderly way, not only in shape but by rainbow colour too. Organised chaos almost.

The exhibition is free and on until 19th April, and I would definitely recommend a visit.

Here’s to 2019

It’s the last day of 2019 and as always I like to share some of my favourite photos of the year gone by. I know I’ve been somewhat lacklustre in my posting this year but I still was able to visit some lovely places like the quaint Groomsbridge in Kent, the beautiful rose garden in Regents park, and celebrate my cousin’s wedding. I hope you all had an amazing year and were able to tick things off your lists of things to see and do.

Here’s hoping that 2020 is a year and the start of a new decade of happiness, good health, and fullfillment of our dreams. I also hope the world is a more peaceful, calmer place than it has been. Happy New Year to you all.

Winter sunset

One of the things I love in Winter, especially on a cloudless day are the amazing sunsets that I can see from my desk at work. The beautiful shades of orange and yellows that blaze just before succumbing to darkness always makes the London skyline that I can see in the distance even more enticing.

Queen Mary’s rose garden

I went to Regent’s Park earlier this year, when flowers and trees were all beginning to bloom at the start of spring. I passed by Queen Mary’s rose garden and told myself that I should come back when the roses had grown. A few weeks ago I did just that.

Queen’s Mary’s rose garden is the largest in London and you can see that it was, there were dozens and dozens of different kinds of roses, all shapes and colours, some fragrant others not so much, each one was wonderful in it’s own way.

My favourite was probably the beautiful ombre rose, which had the colours of a sunset, and was one that I’d never seen before.

Each type of rose had a name, some I forgot to check but the ones that I did spot were quite fun; Ingrid Bergman, Scent-sation and Valentine Heart among some. The Pride of England rose bush was huge with big red roses all over. The other rose that caught my eye was called Nostalgia, which was red at the bottom and white in the centre. It made me think of Alice in Wonderland’s ‘painting the roses red’ song.

Another rose that also stood out was one called Gorgeous, which I thought really was. With roses growing in close bunches it looked like one vibrant coloured flower.

There were also some mini roses growing from the tops of wooden frames near some benches and others that smelled amazing like the yellow roses.

There were so many other roses that I didn’t get a chance to see, either because I’d left my visit too late and they had diminished, I couldn’t find them and because I eventually ran out of time. The visit to Queen Mary’s rose garden was really amazing and I truly loved seeing all the beautiful roses that bloomed in such variety after I’m sure a lot of love and care from the gardeners. I think it’s become of my new favourite places in London.

My cousin’s reception

My cousin’s wedding reception took place a few days after the wedding which is quite traditional according to Islam. This event was a much more laid back affair, especially for us as the groom’s family hosted this one (the wedding day was hosted by the bride’s family).

The venue was decorated nicely and the stage looked great with white flowers and pretty lighting. There was also a cake that tied in with the theme.

All the ladies on our side of the family decided to wear pastel coloured outfits, and my nieces all matched too. I decided on a blue ombre outfit with diamantes and my sister bought me a blue clutch to go with it which I love.

The bride and groom arrived together shortly after and sat on the stage so everyone could say hello and take pictures. The bride was dressed in a lovely light pink and blue outfit that sparkled in the light, and the groom looked dashing in his black tie.

After dinner everyone gathered on stage and took pictures with the couple to remember the happy occasion and celebrate them. I pray the my cousin and her husband have a long, happy, healthy life ahead together. They’ll be able to relax on their honeymoon to Dubai soon, which I’m sure will be very welcome.